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CALCIUM ANTAGONISTS are expanding in number, complexity and therapeutic scope. This class of compounds, the first of which were developed as coronary vasodilators, is now being investigated as therapy for disorders ranging from hyperlipidemia to intermittent claudication. And, in the 24 years since the discovery of the first calcium antagonist, the class has grown to include more than 20 therapeutic compounds.
At a recent international symposium sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences and the Fondazione Giovanni Lorenzini, 250 basic and clinical investigators spent four days in New York City discussing the pharmacology, physiology, and clinical potential of calcium antagonists. What emerged was a picture of a heterogeneous group of agents whose specific indications are just beginning to be defined.
Albert Fleckenstein, PhD, recounted early research with calcium antagonists. Fleckenstein, now professor of physiology, University of Freiberg, West Germany, recalled that he coined the term "calcium antagonist" in 1964
Merz B. Calcium Antagonists Coming of Age: Heterogeneous Class Reveals Broad Therapeutic Potential. JAMA. 1987;257(10):1283-1284. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390100017005